Measurement and Quantum Silence

  • Arthur Fine
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 148)


The central problem in the interpretation of the quantum theory is how to understand the superposition of the eigenstates of an observable. To a considerable extent scientific practice here, especially as codified in versions of Bohr’s Copenhagen interpretation, follows an interpretive principle that I have elsewhere called the Rule of Silence (Fine 1987). That rule admonishes us not to talk about the values of an observable unless the state of the system is an eigenstate, or a mixture of eigenstates, of the observable in question. With regard to the Rule of Silence, as in other matters bearing on the interpretation of the quantum theory, Einstein was one of the first to realize that there can be difficulties. They appear as soon as we look at something like an explosion; i.e., the interaction between a micro- and a macrosystem that involves the amplification of a microphenomenon to macroscopic scale (Fine 1988 Chap. 5, esp. p. 78ff.). John Bell describes the difficulty over the Rule of Silence this way.


Quantum Theory Measurement Problem Replacement Theory Interaction Formalism Usual Story 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur Fine
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of PhilosophyNorthwestern UniversityUSA

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